*Disclaimer-I am not an expert in this field; just a guy who had some thoughts in the shower so call me crazy I’ve been called worse…you may know the feeling. I also did not want to get into the scholarship discussion and especially not the student-athlete side of things because that involves the NCAA and a bunch of other mess that takes too long to simply write a brief blerb about. As a former NCAA athlete myself I have a lot to say about that. This is just a one-shot incomplete thought about an ongoing issue in the United States. *
If it was I who had the power to change what the USA does with its educational system, the first thing I would do is make public university tuition free. Private universities can continue on doing what they’re doing because they are well, y’know private. I just want to shed the light on the big kahunas, the Moby Dicks; the money grubbing over-hyped public universities.
Tuition is expensive for what reason? I was surprised most people thought it was just everything that you are charged with to go to school. Well that’s what they let you believe so that you don’t become upset with what money is actually being spent on. Tuition is literally a payment for taking up space, like rent for your seat in class, that which at a lot of universities doesn’t get much attention at all. Tuition doesn’t help a good night’s rest before an exam. Tuition doesn’t teach the students anything. I suggest in the broadest of senses; to eliminate tuition costs entirely and only charge for room, board, books, and university facilities (I am not a loon, money still needs to be made). Think of this idea as a 50% scholarship to every student. The universities in the USA are already set and do not need anything else to satisfy their never-ending money spending habits. What they have built from the labor of our mothers and fathers is sufficient.
Secondly, I would suggest to take off all identifiers while taking merit based entrance exams. I know this may upset all the “but we need our analytical data for future representation!” guys out there but we can use those for the graduates if you still want them. Eliminating the gender, race, and other identifiers that may or may not get someone admittance whether it is fair or not will flesh out a country suited with the best of the best in the workforce. Now this should not affect the gifted enough to have the tools necessary for the work world without college. I am strictly talking about those who are compelled to get higher education.
The next thing I would do is make the admissions standard more difficult and I don’t mean make the paper work more convoluted than it already is. Simply make the GPA, SAT, ACT, and school standards more merit based and strict than they are. When I was going through the process I felt like I could have taken those tests asleep and still have gotten into IU. With this idea I believe that school prestige will remain intact, and it can even validate what “going to college” really stands for in this era. Lately I see all over the web, people with no lick of smarts going to a university only to drop out second semester of their freshman year because they either weren’t mature enough to handle the work load of a student, or it was because they did not want to put in the time to become a good student and actually learn. This maneuver of raising the standard also motivates high school kids to crack down earlier and actually worry about college as a viable option and stop acting cool for school. A lot of kids in high school give up early because they know college is not affordable no matter how well they do at their specific school (depends on the area and difficulty) or they gamble it all on extra-curricular success. With the increase of admissions difficulty, I believe a lot of teachers and students would rise to the challenge and build themselves up for a crack at education at the next level. I believe that if we give the possibility of free tuition and for many people a life altering route towards success; it should be earned. Free tuition wouldn’t diminish the meaning of what a degree is, or the work that went in to achieve it. We simply need smarter people in the country, and if anything it would mean more to have that degree because of the challenges that were presented before it. I am not suggesting the Oprah Winfrey approach where everyone is a winner and everyone is loved…no. I am just suggesting to alter what is a faltering process. Imagine if every employer knew for a fact, without a doubt that a recent graduate got into university based off smarts and hard work as well as graduated with that same output. That would make job hunts for both the grad and employer 10 times easier.
Thirdly I would implement an eligibility standard such as all students enrolled must have above a 2.5 GPA after their first semester and only 25 credits as a probation period to get it above if it falls under that. If a student does not care enough to maintain a ‘C’ average than the school should not care enough to educate said student. That spot could go to someone who gave a damn. Now for those with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, or other legit circumstances that may hinder learning progression; programs to address these things will remain in place. As for those assuming people would just give up and try another school via transferring after a poor semester; I have thought up of a safeguard for that tactic. For all transferring students just as it is today they must have a copy of the previous transcript but the difference is that you don’t just get to start fresh at a 0.0. The poor performance should remain with the student as an incentive to just get it done in the first place. If you want to be in college go be in college. It isn’t forced upon anyone, but don’t try to snake the process.
With this strategy I believe more people would seriously take control of their destinies. If students knew they had a fair chance, if they knew that all they really needed to do was handle their business without fear of affordability; we would see a drastic change in not only how our society is motivated, but how it is transformed. Think of all the new brains full of ideas and the types of jobs and people in those jobs could do to better the country. It is not a very fleshed out plan I know but as far as the point of this site is, I just want the dialog to continue. I want as many people as I can reach to be compelled to blerb themselves. The more opinions we hear, the more people with real power can listen in and change things. I know I am not an expert and I know some may scoff at this pipe dream of an article, but seriously think about what you would change in education if you had the platform to do so.